Beliefnet
Prayer, Plain and Simple

Look, the winter is past,
    and the rains are over and gone.
The flowers are springing up,
    the season of singing birds has come,
    and the cooing of turtledoves fills the air. (Song of Songs 2:11,12)

For the spring is really springing;
You can see a skylark singing,
And the blue-bells, which are ringing,
Can be heard.
(Noise by Pooh)

Sometimes the cold, dreary season can last even longer in the soul than a northern winter. Winter in Minnesota where we live wears out its welcome quickly. Like any season, at its inception, it has its delights. Warm fires, cozy evenings, gentle snowfalls. But come March, the snow is dirty, leaving clods in the garage, and these clods work your way into your soul where the weariness of winter gets very, very old. The sky stays gray for weeks on end and the world seems to have turned to black and white like a very old and laborious film.

Joy can evade our souls like this. But that is certainly not God’s will for our lives. His will is that Springtime will be a year-around event, with fresh growth, new fruit, and lasting sunshine. In the midst of fear and harm and trauma, joy can slip out of our hands all too quickly. How can we leave the winter behind and find joy again?

Paul had the secret. He wrote these words from jail where he was imprisoned for being a follower of Jesus. You may be in prison reading this. Or the prison might be to your addictions or in a troubling relationship or a harrowing circumstance out of your control. Wherever you are today, please heed these words, let them sink deep into your soul, meditating on them. Turn them into a prayer of your own design today:

Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:4-9 NLT)

May you have the courage to discover and choose joy again. May spring return to your soul, my friend.

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